3 Summer Road Trip Ideas for a Season of Adventure

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This summer, pack up the car and take a road trip! The warm weather is the perfect time to explore and take in new sights. Road trips are sure to delight as they offer a range of new experiences. If you need some road trip inspo, look no further. Here are three summer road trips you can take to explore the U.S. Now, start packing

1Washington, D.C. to Roanoke, Virginia

Kick off your road trip by checking out D.C.’s iconic monuments and taking a stroll down the Mall. While you’re there, walk into any one of the Smithsonian museums, which are free. After D.C., continue west to see Middleburg. The five-star Salamander Resort & Spa has a bucolic feel in the heart of Virginia’s horse country, and you can book a treatment at the spa or have lunch on the grounds. 

The next stop is Staunton (pronounced “stant-in”) in the Shenandoah Valley. This quaint downtown area is home to plenty of charming shops and restaurants. Grab ice cream at The Split Banana Co. or spicy Indian fare at Taste of India.

The Nelson 151, a craft beverage destination, is about an hour from Staunton. Along that road, you’ll find seasonal cider at Bold Rock, India Pale Ales at Devils Backbone Brewing Company, and wine at Veritas Winery. Stay overnight at the Farmhouse at Veritas

Wrap up your road trip in Roanoke. There, you can visit the City Market Building food hall, the striking Taubman Museum of Art, and  Mill Mountain Park. Drive or hike to see the Roanoke Star— one of the city’s most iconic sites that offers sweeping views of the city. 

2Albuquerque to Abiquiu, New Mexico

Old Town Albuquerque offers quaint shops, restaurants, and artisans selling their goods. You might also consider visiting Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, which is set on 25 acres of lavender fields. Book one of the 35 guest rooms for a farmhouse feel, and enjoy seasonal plates like saffron spaghetti. Don’t leave without purchasing lavender products like candles, lotion, and soap. 

Drive north to downtown Santa Fe, which feels like a European city with its narrow streets and small buildings. The lively plaza is filled with shops and restaurants and is the heart of the city. Hear live music in the Plaza or see artists displaying their goods. For an immersive art experience, Meow Wolf is a must-see in Santa Fe. Housed in a bowling alley, Meow Wolf is full of colorful, interactive art displays that can keep you busy all day. 

From Santa Fe, head to Taos. Visit the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and see stunning views of the 900-foot deep Rio Grande Gorge. Visit the Taos Pueblo to see a Native American community that’s been inhabited for more than 1,000 years. See artisans selling their wares like handmade pottery. See jewelry, Native American pottery, art and fashion at the Millicent Rogers Museum

Perhaps best known as the city where O’Keefe spent her later years, Abiquiu is a stunning small town. Head to Ghost Ranch to check out O’Keefe’s home, studio, and to simply appreciate the classic southwest scenery. Think striking red rocks and sweeping views that go on for hundreds of miles. 

3San Diego to Santa Barbara, California

Start your Southern California road trip in sunny San Diego. This beachside town beckons with sunshine and plenty of things to do. The Hotel del Coronado (known as “The Del”) is an idyllic place to begin your journey. Even if you don’t step foot inside of the red hotel, their beach is a perfect place to take a stroll or just spend a few hours. 

Stop by Clayton’s Café (an historic diner that opened in 1940) for a slice of pie. Next, visit Balboa Park, which is filled with lush greenery and historic, Spanish-style buildings. San Diego’s food scene is also thriving, and fish tacos are perhaps the city’s most famed culinary offering. Find great versions of them at South Beach Bar & Grill and Marisco’s German. 

Next, head north to Los Angeles. Strolling down Hollywood Boulevard to see all the stars on the ground is a must. The new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is also worth seeing. The museum’s collection will take you through movie history, with pictures, film reels, scripts, and props, like the red ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. For lunch, head to Daybird, which serves Szechuan fried chicken sandwiches that Oprah recommends. Housed in a red farm-style building, Brentwood Country Mart is a dining and shopping destination. Grab a cup of coffee at Caffe Luxxe, enjoy ice cream at Sweet Rose Creamery and tacos at Frida Taqueria. Who knows? You also might spot a celebrity here. They’re known for frequenting this hot spot. 

Finish your road trip in Santa Barbara. Another coastal town, where you can enjoy  wine, gorgeous scenery, and historic buildings. To soak up some history, visit the Old Mission Santa Barbara 1786. Find a plethora of tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara, including Santa Barbara Winery, Paradise Springs Winery and Area 5.1 Winery. Drink up refreshing California-made wines in charming settings and savor the end of a great road trip. 

Tags: Adventure, Self Care, Travel

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Written By

Teresa Traverse

Teresa K. Traverse is a writer and editor who has been published in Brides and Bust. Visit teresaktraverse.com for more. See Full Bio

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